Sunday, August 1, 2010

Driving around waiting to get blown up

1st PHOTO: Leslie Smith, 30, talks to a veteran contemplating suicide during a shift at the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention hot line in Canandaigua, N.Y. Ashley Gilbertson/VII Network, for The New York Times

2nd PHOTO: U.S. Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division work to save a comrade after an Improvised Explosive Device exploded just outside Combat Outpost Nolen in the Arghandab Valley north of Kandahar July 30, 2010. One soldier lost a leg in the blast and another was wounded in the face by shrapnel. REUTERS/Bob Strong

Just finished reading a piece on the hundreds of calls veterans made to a suicide support line in one month. Just after reading about a bi-partisan (false dichotomy alert any time you see that word) call to build up the U.S. Navy, which mentioned that Secty. of "Defense" Gates "focused his effort on winning the wars we are in today. But we cannot do that at the expense of preparing for the future..."

I guess it's okay if we do it at the expense of the mental health of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who, when asked to describe what their mission is, respond: "Driving around waiting to get blown up."

Then my morale was refreshed by a fascinating article on military intelligence from a former classmate of Bradley Manning. It's not that his article didn't have horrific details about our tax $$ at work in Iraq, because it does. But it was refreshing because it cut through the Obama administration's b.s. about how wikileaks reporters have "blood on their hands" by revealing Afghan informant names from years gone by. Definitely worth a read. I sent author Evan Knappenberger a note
that he deserved an A+ on his paper -- even if it was turned in a few years late.

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